MLA's Public Health/Health Administration Cool Web Things Task Force and the Adoption of Web 2.0 Technologies


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MLA's Public Health/Health Administration Cool Web Things Task Force and the Adoption of Web 2.0 Technologies

  1. 1. MLA’s Public Health/Health Administration Section’s Cool Web Things Task Force and the Adoption of Web 2.0 Technologies Melissa L. Rethlefsen 1 , Andrea Lynch 2 , Christine Marton 3 1 Mayo Clinic Libraries, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; 2 Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, University of California, Los Angeles, CA; 3 Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada The Cool Web Things Task Force enabled PH/HA to assess the current use and attitude toward Web 2.0 technologies by its members. This assessment led to the new PH/HA blog and Delicious account in 2008. Additional projects using 2.0 tools are underway. Conclusions Thirty-one PH/HA members responded to the first survey in February 2008. Sixty-one percent (n=19) of respondents used blogs and really simple syndication (RSS) feeds at least weekly; 79% (n=23) thought converting the PH/HA newsletter to blog format was a good idea. Based on these results, PH/HA converted the newsletter to a blog in 2008. Twenty-one members responded to the second survey gauging use of Web 2.0 tools for work with public health professionals and students. Blogs and RSS feeds were the most commonly used. Based on additional results, the task force also created a Delicious account to share links with members. Results An ad hoc task force called the Cool Web Things Task Force was formed by volunteers from the PH/HA membership. Four major themes were identified for the task force to concentrate on: the PH/HA Newsletter; Web 2.0 uses by PH/HA members for public health students, faculty, and professionals; a presence on social networking sites; and member communication. Feedback was solicited from PH/HA membership in two separate surveys. The first survey addressed member use of the current newsletter and opinions regarding converting it to blog format, as well as use of social software and Web 2.0 tools. The second survey sought examples of members using Web 2.0 tools with or for the public health community. The surveys were analyzed by the task force to establish a direction in developing communication methods appropriate for the membership. Methods To identify technology options, specifically Web 2.0 tools, for improving Public Health/Health Administration Section (PH/HA) activities and communication to and between members as well as effective use of these tools by PH/HA members for connecting with their various clientele. Objectives The PH/HA newsletter was converted to blog in 2008. The blog allows PH/HA to engage and communicate with members through commenting, RSS feeds, and the latest PH/HA Delicious bookmarks. The PH/HA Delicious account includes resources helpful for public health librarians: